MANILA - (UPDATED) Retired policeman Arturo Lascañas has executed an affidavit pinning President Rodrigo Duterte in the killings of "numerous" criminals and innocent people at the hands of an alleged death squad.
In his 12-page affidavit signed and notarized on Feb. 19, 2017, Lascañas claimed he personally witnessed Duterte giving orders and paying the Davao Death Squad (DDS) to carry out hits.
"I was present when then Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte of Davao City ordered the killing of numerous men and women, and gave us reward money after we executed them," his affidavit read.
"I was responsible for the killing of many men and women, and at least one child, upon the instructions of Mayor Duterte."
Duterte, he said, organized DDS during his first term as mayor in 1988.
Addressing Lascañas' allegations for the first time on Friday, Duterte said it was true that criminals were killed in his city during his more than 20-year reign, but the killings were carried out in legitimate police operations.
CRIMINALS FIRST, THEN INNOCENTS
Lascañas alleged that the band of mercenaries went after crime suspects at first, but later assassinated even innocent people on Duterte's orders.
"In the beginning, we targeted and killed drug suspects, drug pushers, snatchers, holduppers and other criminals. Later on, however, we were ordered by Mayor Duterte to go after and kill his personal and political enemies," he said.
"We became like hired or contact killer who killed not only criminals but innocent people."
The affidavit lists the alleged DDS crimes that Lascañas first bared during a press conference last week, including the deadly raid on the house of alleged drug dealer Alan Tancio, the massacre of the Patasaja family, the bombing of Davao mosques, and the murders of Constabulary soldier Jun Bersabal and broadcaster Jun Pala.
WHO'S WHO IN DDS
Lascañas also formally identified at least 12 police officers and 5 others allegedly involved in the DDS missions.
The police officers he named were:
- Majors Ernersto Macasaet and Ildefonso Asentista;
- SPO4s Fulgencio Pavo, Jun Naresma, Sanson Buenaventura, Ben Laud, Desiderio Cloribel;
- SPO3s Gerry Baguhin, Teodoro Paguidapon;
- SPO1 Jim Tan;
- Insp. Rommel Mitra;
- and a certain Patayan.
Meanwhile, the five civilians who allegedly acted as DDS accomplices were identified as Cris Lanay, brothers Valentin, Alan and Roland Duhilag and Jerry Trocio who allegedly acted as DDS accomplices.
The name of a certain “Miguel” appeared in the affidavit as having helped strip naked the dead bodies of Patasaja family before burying them in a deep quarry.
The affidavit also tagged self-professed hitman Edgar Matobato as a DDS "foot soldier."
Matobato in a 2016 Senate inquiry bared his knowledge on the DDS, only to be refuted by Lascañas who was then in active service.
Lascañas said he initially denied Matobato's claims because he "was afraid for the safety and security of my loved ones in Davao City."
In recanting his denial of the death squad, Lascañas said he does not expect to earn forgiveness from the families of alleged DDS victims.
"I do hope that they would at least find comfort in knowing what really happened to them and who was truly responsible for their disappearance and murder," he said.
"I know it is not enough to say sorry, but I am truly sorry for what I have done and I am ready to face the consequences of my actions. -- With a report from VERA Files